In our world, we are bombarded with mixed messages from the media regarding healthy weight management. Flipping through the channels on TV, there’s tantalizing advertisement for McDonald’s Big Mac, and the next ad is thin women describing her weight loss using diet pills. Clearly, our society is a little confused about the best way to manage a healthy weight. Here are three key principals to keep your pants fitting just right!
1.) Control Energy Intake: Choose food wisely. This does not mean banning all of your favorite things; it means being conscious of your hunger cues and letting them guide your eating habits. The human body desires to stay in homeostasis (equilibrium), which means balancing all functions of the body, and this includes holding weight constant. Therefore, it is outside forces that override our internal cues and lead to excess energy intake (that large milkshake or extra helping of mac n’ cheese). To prevent the external environment from this sabotage, eat slowly and consciously or try to keep a food journal. Writing down everything you consume is just a reminder of all the extra little snacks you grab when not hungry!
2.) Regular Physical Activity: Not everyone is an all-star athlete, but anyone can feel the benefits of exercise, especially when it comes to weight management. The most important thing for new exercisers is to choose an activity that is enjoyable. If getting up and exercising is a miserable task, chances are good that the activity will not stick. Grab a friend for accountability and search out alternative forms of exercise (yoga, palates, kick-boxing).
3.) Control Problem Behaviors: All good intentions to eat right and workout are fruitless if the routine does not stick. This is why understanding what makes you overeat or skip a workout is probably the most crucial part of weight management. Try keeping a journal of thoughts or emotions that lead to the late night pizza binge or excuse to skip your workout. Also, you can change damaging habits. If you know that the call of the vending machine is too strong, choose not to walk past it. If you know you like to nibble on (wait… devour) chips in front of the TV, choose to snack on fresh fruit or sip tea instead. Finally, monitor your weight by getting on the scale once a week. Give yourself a five-pound range (as your weight fluctuates regularly). If you exceed that five-pound range, begin watching our diet a little more carefully.
The key to weight control is to indulge yourself sometimes, but balance that with exercise and portion control. In addition, be aware of those hidden emotions, which are good at enticing you to grab the pint of ice cream. When you have a bad day, choose to go for a run or call a good friend. This may sound cliché, but by not inducing a food coma, you will be able to positively handle your emotions.
What are some other suggestions for maintaining weight?
Assistance provided by Kaylee O’Connell